My tummy seems to be changing shape. It’s probably the operation swelling going down. There seems to be a crease developing between the stoma and my tummy button, and this morning I sprang a leak along this line. I had just emptied the bag in preparation for changing it, and was walking across the bathroom to get my towel and I felt something wet – and it had gone on my nightdress and onto my foot. Fortunately the bag was empty so it wasn’t a serious leak.
Removing the bag, the skin irritation seems to be somewhat reduced, although still far from cleared up. The stoma itself has shrunk a little, and now has a rather irregular shape which is a pain. Having the mouldable rings the stoma nurse gave me helps but it’s quite difficult to get a perfect fit. I am hoping that when the stoma eventually settles down to its final size, it will also settle down to a perfect circle!
This morning I tried to shape the mouldable ring to the stoma, and put on a new bag. There is definitely a crease and some wrinkling around the flange on the left, and I am going to phone the stoma nurse tomorrow morning (why do problems ALWAYS arise at weekends??!!) and see if she can supply me with some banana flanges (also known as smilies!) – these adhesive strips give added security around the perimeter of the flange.
Just when you think you’re getting there, another problem crops up! However, it’s early days, and things are still changing and settling down, so I must expect some interesting days ahead!
Dealing with the skin problem – I was quite confused about the order in which one should apply the different treatments, so last night I went on the Ostomy forum on Inspire and asked for clarification.
I was told that the first step after cleaning around the stoma, is to apply some basic Head and Shoulders shampoo (without conditioner) in a thin layer with my fingertip, and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then rinse off thoroughly with wipes and warm water, until every trace is gone. Next step to dry the area thoroughly. Then apply the stomahesive powder, brushing away the excess so that the only powder remaining is that attached to the inflamed areas of skin. I was confused about when to use the barrier wipes, thinking that if you wipe the area, it would wipe away the powder, but I was told not to wipe, but to dab with the wipe – when you hear “wipe” you think “wipe” not “dab” lol!! Anyway, gently dabbing at the area applies the film on top of the powder, allowing the crust to form, which acts as an artificial scab which protects the skin and allows it to heal.
I tried this this morning and it seemed to work well. After ensuring that the area was completely dry, I applied the mouldable ring and eased it into shape around the irregular stoma, trying not to leave any gaps. Then I applied the new bag.
When the district nurse called today to give me my Fragmin injection I told her about the problem, and she had a look and could see the definite crease in my stomach, and how the bag flange was folding along it. She said it might be a good idea to go back to changing the bag daily to prevent a leak developing – with the aid of the adhesive remover, there is very little pulling on the skin, and even if there were, it would probably do less damage than further skin contact with stoma output. It’s all a question of balance.